Incendium Gallery Gathers Houston Jewelry Artists to Show Off Local Flare at WhiteSpace

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Irrepressible by Houston jewelry artist Melanie Hoo. Hoo's work is among that of nine artists showing with Incendium Gallery on Friday, September 12.
When Goldesberry Gallery closed a few years ago, local jewelry artist Ruth Brenton felt a gap open up in the local arts scene. "They were around for many years, and were a great supporter and resource," Brenton recalled. "After the owners retired, no one stepped into that niche." As time passed, Brenton felt that it was time for a personal transition, and the idea to start her own gallery took hold. Hoping to step into the void left by Goldesberry's exit, Ruth created Incendium Gallery and kicked it off with a premier at this year's White Linen Nights, showing the work at WhiteSpace Houston, where "Local Flare" will also be held.

"We had a focused show on Jan Arthur Harrel's work. She's a great enamellist, and very well-known in that segment of the art world," said Brenton. "She's taught enameling at Glassell for many years. Her work showed beautifully in the space, and it's kind of full steam ahead now."

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One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Art: "Transitional Artifacts" at Fresh Arts

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The Center for Imaginative Cartography & Research
One of the most cliché sayings is that one man's trash is another's treasure. In the case of the evolving display at Fresh Arts by Houston-based collaborative The Center for Imaginative Cartography and Research, this phrase morphs into "another man's art." Or perhaps it is another man's inspiration as the Center, comprised of the team of Emily Halbardier and Erik Sultzer, are using another man's trash to make a statement on the ever transitioning world in their new exhibition "Transitional Artifacts."

The duo was more or less inspired by trash to create this show. Halbardier and Sultzer live and work together in the Museum District of Houston and had spent many an evening walking the area. What they found was that their neighbors' garbage was full of untapped potential.

"When we proposed this project," says Halberdier, "we had been observing all of this waste and thought it should be used for art material."

There were many items which Halbardier and Sultzer didn't understand why they ended up as trash. A book shelf with minor issues and lawn chairs in perfectly good shape were among some of the garbage items they came across and snatched up. Although they weren't quite sure what they were going to do with these items at first. This is a part of the evolution of this show.

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Evocative Watercolors Showcase Another Side of John Singer Sargent

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MFAH Houston/Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by Special Subscription.
John Singer Sargent, "The Bridge of Sighs" c. 1903-04.

The amazingly prolific American-born John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) had already secured his reputation and fame as the leading oil painting portraiture artist of his time. But by the turn of the 20th century, he felt the medium had grown...well...as staid and stale as some of his subjects.

So as a challenge to himself -- and to allow a more fluid and faster-paced creativity -- he began to concentrate on producing watercolors. Two exhibitions of these works at New York's Knoedler Galleries in 1909 and 1912 (curated by the artist himself) were massive successes.

The entire group of Sargent's works at each show was purchased by the Brooklyn Museum and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, respectively -- the latter before it even opened to the public.

Now, more than 90 of what one contemporary critic called "swagger watercolours" from both exhibitions come together in the MFAH's "John Singer Sargent: The Watercolors."

"At the turn of the century, Sargent was at the top of his game, but he felt he had achieved all he could in portraiture," says Kaylin Weber, assistant curator of american painting and sculpture at the MFAH.


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From Sketchbook to Storytime: Life Artists Show at Pictures Plus

Categories: Galleries

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In November while at Fun Fun Fun Fest, I spotted a guy in front of me in the crowd, drawing in a sketchbook while watching the Subhumans play on the Black Stage. I surreptitiously took his photo, wrote about how neat I thought it was for Rocks Off, and went on about my weekend. A few weeks later, he found me on Twitter and sent me a link to his blog, where he posts all his artwork.

Now that artist, Amitai Plasse, a New York native, is about to have his first art show in Texas. It opens tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Pictures Plus, 115 Hyde Park in the Montrose. The show, called Storytime, is a joint project with Houston-based artist Brad Moody. Both artists work in what Plasse calls "life drawing," or "a shared desire to convey everyday life through imagery," as the show's description says.

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Art and Beer: Bayou City Outdoors' Arts and Crafts Crawl Hits Gallery Row

Categories: Galleries

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Vincent van Gogh, "The Drinkers, or the Four Ages of Man," 1890.
These guys had it right.
When you think art galleries, does an image of fancy-pants folk, sipping wine and using words like "post-modernism" come to mind? If you have shied away from the gallery scene because it felt a little too stuffy for you, then perhaps this Thursday's Arts and Crafts Crawl, hosted by Bayou City Outdoors, will be more of your cup of tea. Or beer. Beginning at 6 p.m., Thursday, January 30, Bayou City Outdoors is hosting its first arts and craft beer gallery crawl along Gallery Row on Colquitt.

The concept may seem uncustomary -- fine art goes with wine -- but given the nature of Bayou City Outdoors and the continuous rise of craft beer interest in Houston, the partnership makes sense.

Bayou City Outdoors is a member-based outdoor activity group for singles and couples who want to get outside with like-minded people. It's known for its emphasis on local doings, some of its events include hiking Brazos Bend State Park or walking the Rice loop after dark. Every month, they hold a "meet and greet" open to all, which usually takes place at a bar or restaurant in town. But for the month of January, they wanted to do something different.

Dina Attar who works with the organization says that a gallery crawl seemed like a great way to support the arts while staying heavy on the local flavor. But when she had trouble getting some of the Texas wine companies to come on board, she figured, duh, craft beer. This is Houston, after all. Featured during the crawl will be samples from local breweries, Karbach Brewing Co, Fort Bend Brewing Co, No Label Brewing Company, and Southern Star Brewing Company.

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"50 Shades of Green" at the Archway Gallery: The Name Says a Lot

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Harold Joiner "Spring Green in the River Canyon"
Noted art collector Peggy Guggenheim is quoted with saying, "My knowledge of art ended at impressionism." Guggenheim was a well-known fan of abstract and avant garde art; she was married to Dadaist Max Ernst after all. Whether Guggenheim was complimenting the Impressionist movement or putting it down is up for debate, I have felt this way at times. It seems sometimes as if the Impressionist movement never ended; we won't let it.

The influence of the impressionists is very much at play in the new collection "50 Shades of Green," at the Archway Gallery. The show, which opened this weekend and runs through the end of the month, is the works of painters Judy Elias and Harold Joiner.

Let's put aside the horribly clichéd title and concentrate on the work itself. The collaborative collection features a variety of oil paintings mostly of outdoor settings in which "the artists realized... the prominence of green as a modifier." The artists also share a similar style and good deal of overlap in content.

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Saying Goodbye to the Old West at G Gallery

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Felice House
There is an old western proverb that says, "If you're riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there." It may be the herd that has wandered off, or it may be the Old West itself that has morphed into something different before your very own eyes. The latter is the subject of the newest exhibition at The G Gallery called "Re-Western." The collection features the works of two artists, Felice House and Dana Younger, and their exploration of the American Western Frontier from a contemporary perspective.

"Re-Western" examines many of the quintessential western emblems and turns them on their heads. Younger, a sculptor and installation artist, has taken the western theme and has pushed it into a post-modern era. One section of the gallery is dedicated to Younger's constructed bull skulls. The classic icon of the Native Americans, which is often known as a representation of bravery and strength, has been turned into a modern symbol of razzle-dazzle painted in bright neon colors.

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Dana Younger


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A Thanksgiving Weekend Guide to Art Galleries

Categories: Galleries

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Photo by Paul Hester
Untitled (also known as It's All Over the City)
Think there's nothing to do but eat, shop or go to the movies during Thanksgiving weekend. Not true. Houston's art galleries, while not usually thought of as part of the Black Friday retail rush, are open. So are the museums. Here are a few suggestions for your weekend. Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze, called Wols, was a hugely influential, if mostly commercially unsuccessful, painter and photographer during the first half of the 20th century. Wols's signature style is called tachisme, a term derived from a French word meaning ''stain,'' an appropriate description of his style. Wols's so-called stains contain recognizable shapes, ranging from kittens to breasts to nuclear explosions, all springing directly from his psyche to the canvas without premeditation. ''Wols,'' a retrospective currently on display at The Menil Collection, explores that spontaneity.

''The paintings are beautiful and mysterious, ranging from very raw and hermetic to luminous and otherworldly,'' Menil Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Toby Kamps says. ''Wols's early photographs from the 1930s were wildly inventive; the delicate dance between figuration and abstraction in all his drawings is fascinating. It's impossible to single out any one work; each one is a universe within itself.'' The exhibition features 20 paintings and 50 drawings, watercolors and photographs Wols left behind prior to his early death at age 38 from food poisoning.

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Through January 12. 1515 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-525-9400 or visit the Menil Collection's website. Free.

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Boxing Gloves Plus Paint at the Zoya Tommy Gallery

Categories: Galleries

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Fusha pink on bright yellow - Ushio Shinohara
Pinpointing Japanese art is tough. We tend to pigeonhole Japanese art into a select few categories: the woodblock/printmaking periods often depicted with landscapes and volcanoes, the architecture of pagodas and temples or the delicate calligraphy of the Buddhist influence. Contemporary Japanese art is frequently associated with anime, girls with big eyes and tiny waists or futuristic-style images and settings. But there have been significant contributions made to the pop art and avante-garde movements of the 1960s and 1970s by Japanese artists. One such artist is Ushio Shinohara, who, along with his wife, artist Noriko Shinohara, has received newfound recognition, as of late.

Shinohara and his wife are the subject of a new documentary, Cutie and the Boxer, which just screened this past week during The Houston Cinema Arts Festival. In tandem with the screening, the Zoya Tommy Contemporary Gallery held a pop up exhibition this weekend of Shinohara and his wife's work.

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The (Texas) Hills Are Alive at the William Reaves Gallery

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William Lester
Famed author John Steinbeck once said, "I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion."

Steinbeck goes on to comment on the core of Texas, which he considers to be its people. Although, from a visual perspective, it may just be the Texas landscape that really sticks with you. We Houstonians carp over the flat terrain and lack of scenic diversity, but just a few miles outside of town, Texas is surrounded by beauty.

That beauty is the center of the William Reaves Fine Art Gallery current exhibition, Hill Country Love Affair: Interpretations of a Texas Heartland, which runs through November 16.

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